There's an app for that..

By now we have become used to hearing "there's an app for that". And despite our resistance, many of us have come to rely on "apps" for a variety of things. For instance, our state criminal defense lawyer's association (TCDLA) has an app which basically allows you to carry an entire criminal law library with you on your phone or ipad. (BTW - if you practice in Texas and aren't a member this ought to be reason enough to join).

So with everything else ought I wasn't too surprised to learn that the ACLU in New Jersey has created an app to allow you to secretly record your encounter with the police. What a great idea! I cannot tell you many times I have reviewed police car videos that conveniently stopped working at critical points, or didn't work at all. Some officers have become very skilled at making sure they are just outside of camera range during DWI stops so you cannot see what they are doing. Now you may have some way to prove what you are saying - because as everyone knows if its your word against that of a police officer you are going to lose.

I was around when the police started using video, and I admit I was resistant at first. I initially viewed it as one more piece of incriminating evidence we have to deal with. It certainly can be that - but I also soon learned that it could also be proof of what the client was saying. It also can be proof that the officer embellished the report. I don't know whether they forget what actually happened, or they forget it was recorded, but it never ceases how often they will say something happened - or didn't happen - when the video is to the contrary. It's no wonder that the police now are starting to take offense to people videotaping them.

I don't know how effective this app is going to be. My guess is most people would be so nervous when they are pulled over that they forget all about it. Or the people who could use it, won't have it. It certainly can't hurt to have it though. After all, if you think you will never be suspected or accused of doing something wrong - think again.

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